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THE TOP 5 THINGS TO WATCH IN THE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY THIS YEAR

From drones and 3D printing to assistance from cryptocurrency and the IoT, here are the hottest trends making waves in the manufacturing industry this year.

1.  AN INTERNATIONAL RISE IN DRONE AND ROBOT SPENDING

According to analyst firm IDC, spending on drones and robotics systems is slated to total a whopping $115.7 billion in 2019, which constitutes a 17.6% rise from last year.

“Industrial robotics continues to top the technology investment priorities of manufacturing organizations across all major markets surveyed by IDC in 2018,” says research director at worldwide Robotics, Dr. Jing Bing Zhang.

Research director for Commercial Service Robotics, John Santagate, agrees. “The worldwide market for commercial service robotics will continue to grow at a rate of 20% per year for the coming five years,” he says. “This growth is due to continued innovation in ease of use as well as the drive for flexible automation across industries. We expect to see growth driven by increased adoption of autonomous mobile robots and collaborative robots being deployed as a means to deliver improvements in capacity, productivity, and efficiency.”

2.  3D PRINTING WILL BE AN EMERGENT FORCE IN MANUFACTURING

Stronger, faster and cheaper: 3D printing is all set to realize its potential within the field of manufacturing. The process may still be in an infant stage, but it has made its mark within the last ten years. Now that industrial 3D printing has reached a peak, the process is about to make the transition from the maker community to mainstream manufacturing. It’s already one of the most rapidly growing manufacturing areas, at least as far as the production of end-use parts is concerned. In 2019, it is about to disrupt global manufacturing in areas such as true rapid prototyping, mass customization and rapid design iteration.

3.  THE UNISON OF CRYPTOCURRENCY AND MANUFACTURING THROUGH BLOCKCHAIN

Blockchain technology is about to directly affect financial transactions and operations in manufacturing. Manufacturers will be able to use this revolutionary technology to identify problems in the supply chain in real time, and to influence aspects such as transaction reporting and tracking in supply chains.

4.  CONTINUING EXPANSION OF IOT

With 5G connectivity rolling out in 2019, along with enhanced sensors, this year is going to see a combination of machine learning and AI in IoT. This will lead to a drastic improvement in manufacturers’ ability to manage vast amounts of data, as well as to generate insights and solutions. The result? Dramatically superior efficiency and responsiveness.

5.  AI AND MACHINE LEARNING

As manufacturers adopt IoT, there will be a marked rise in the volume of data they produce. Machine learning and AI will have to step up in order to cope with analyzing this data, and taking action based on accurate insights. AI and machine learning, coupled together, are able to manage intense levels of data, generate tangible insights, and develop solutions that increase efficiency.

In summary, we can expect to see some serious strides in automation and 3D printing, as well as collaboration with cryptocurrency, IoT and AI and machine learning in 2019.

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